(The Festival is now over, and the links to the films have expired – editors)
If you are craving anything French, or in a general state of appreciation of Frenchness…we are here for you, and have something even better than a baguette, dare I say better than champagne! UniFrance’s novel initiative, My French Film Festival is back for its ninth edition.
With two competitions of ten features and ten shorts in the language of Juliette Binoche, we are happy to share with you the ten short films in competition. Representing a curated selection of the best of contemporary French cinema, the shorts are free to watch now through to the end of the festival on February 18th. In addition to a jury award, you can make your voice heard by voting for the audience award on the festival’s platform.
On to the fun stuff, the short films! I was really pleased by this year’s program, it offers a variety of narratives separated into six thematic categories that include both shorts and features, giving a good picture of the diversity of production within the country, and a great snapshot of talented filmmakers on the rise. While there is no shortage of short films on the internet, it’s really cool for us to see a governmental organization as big and influential as Unifrance not just focus of IRL festivals, but work to promote their cultural products to the world at large via the internet (look at this distribution map, which screams Be Everywhere All At Once). So, without further ado, scroll down to see all ten in-competition short films.
Judith Hôtel (Judith Hotel)
Dir: Charlotte Le Bon
Director Charlotte Le Bon, who is known for being in front of the camera, stepped behind for her directorial debut. Le Bon explores the meaning of life and death with extremely stylish visuals in Judith Hotel, a hotel where Rémi, who has not slept in eight years, hopes to find peace.
Le Septième Continent (The Seventh Continent))
Dir: Noé Debré
Director Noé Debré takes on a quest to find a man’s girlfriend who has gone missing. With the perfect amount of weirdness and awkwardness, plus a daringly strong color saturation to its look, the film feels like a wild ride.
Dir: Paul Autric, Quentin Camus, Léa Georges, Maryka Laudet, Zoé Sottiaux, Corentin Yvergniaux
With multiple directors, this student 3D animation film starts as a romcom that takes a surprising turn. Extremely entertaining and fast paced, the film is an epic tale that flirts with different genres with a lot of humor.
Personne ne s’aimera jamais comme on s’aime (There’s No Love Stronger Than Ours)
Dir: Laure Bourdon Zarader
Laure Bourdon Zarader focuses her film on the love story between Pauline and Noham, who have to find a solution when life intervenes and jeopardizes their relationship. The sharp screenplay and performances perfectly carry the story of these two ten year old kids.
Un homme mon fils (A Man My Son)
Dir: Florent Gouëlou
Florent Gouëlou, in his student film for the highly regarded French film school La Fémis, delves into an estranged father/son relationship—what makes them similar, and what sets them apart. We tag along on a road trip with them in this touching story.
Chien bleu (Blue Dog)
Dir: Fanny Liatard, Jérémy Trouilh
Liatard and Trouilh direct a beautiful story about compassion, where a son is fully dedicated to helping his aging father. Meeting a young woman who dances Tamil will change his daily routine. The omnipresence of the blue color makes the film not only moving but extremely visually pleasing.
Des fleurs (Flowers)
Dir: Baptiste Petit-Gats
Baptiste Petit-Gats depicts grief from a mother and a son’s point of view on All Saint’ Day. The loss experienced by the two characters and their way of coping, which are completely opposite, make for a great slice of life film, with the right emotional depth.
La Collection (The Collection)
Dir: Emmanuel Blanchard
In this tense period piece, Emmanuel Blanchard takes us back to 1942 Paris, during the German Occupation, and sheds light on what used to be a common practice—merchants buying, at low low prices, artworks from Jewish collectors.
À l’aube (At Dawn)
Dir: Julien Trauman
Julien Trauman pushes his three teenage characters to their limits and tests their meaning of friendship by putting them in a dire isolated situation in his film. The slow progression and growing tension, paired with bleak despair, is contagious through the screen.
Les Petites Mains (Little Hands)
Dir: Rémi Allier
Rémi Allier flips the script in this story resulting from a work dispute between a director and his employees, leading a worker to a desperate act, hoping to gain leverage. We spend the film with Léo, who gets kidnapped, and whom is portrayed via a fascinating performance.
As a bonus, My French Film Festival is also highlighting a handful of works out-of-competition, which include some worthy works previously covered on this site. Check them out below.